Humans are strange, we live in a world of contradictions and we are not really sure what we want from life. On the one hand we want to be busy, we want to achieve and progress and we want to make the most of life. On the other hand we want to relax and not be too busy. However when we are busy we moan and when we sit and relax we feel that we need to get off the sofa and do something whether it be exercise, cooking or cleaning. Parents are the worst for filling every minute of the day. As a parent you feel that there is an ongoing requirement to get the kids 'out of the house' to do something, then as soon as you are out the kids annoy you, you buy an expensive lunch and it starts to rain and you just wish you had remained indoors.
We live on such a fine line between being busy and happy and stressed and tired.
We all known that work, money and family are ever present and an essential part of life but like anything if you are not mindful about how they can affect you, your stress and anxiety levels may rise and your mental and physical health can suffer. Something I have noticed with a lot of people I speak to is that coming home from work, sorting dinner, and then the thought of sitting down and watching rubbish TV can be stressful. Which seems ridiculous but I firmly believe we all want more out of life, we do not want the same routine everyday, we do need to stay busy.
Monday to Friday - You get up, you sort breakfast, you get the kids ready for school. You bundle them out of the house and get them to breakfast club/school. You then battle you way through traffic, work all day, which brings its own stresses. You then battle your way back through the traffic, get the kids, get home sort dinner, get the kids to bed. You look at your watch and it is 8.30pm, so you may end up having to do some work, feed yourself, or watch rubbish TV, before climbing into bed. Then you repeat this for the next 4 days, sure there may be some highlights but for most people it is probably the same routine for 5 days.
This leads me on to the following account from a friend of mine who has just started his own clothing brand. We discussed the stresses of life, work and evenings sat watching TV, and how he decided that he needed to get some direction and focus to lift his mood and give him some motivation in life. This is a perfect example of teaching yourself new skills, finding motivation, setting goals and more importantly keeping busy (in the right way)
Lee Hambling is the Founder of Chief Clothing
Family and friends – they’re the best, right? Day trips to the beach with the guys from the village; don’t forget the wetsuits and cool box. That birthday lunch with Aunt Betty; I’ll grab the lilies she likes from Tesco. Oh, it’s a soft play party for Timmy’s 5th on Saturday; did you get a card and a present?...Yikes, how do we remember to breathe?!
Even the fun side of day-to-day ‘Life admin’ comes with its pressures. Throw in the work commitments, the bills to pay - How do you keep it all in your head?
Finding space from the everyday pressures of life can be difficult. Where does the brain go for a break from the norm? Having a side project, something different to your family and working life, can really benefit you. But it’s important to not let that become another of life’s worries – it’s supposed to be fun, right?
When Chief Clothing was just a single feather in the headdress, I was struggling with what to do with my ideas. The pressure was building up in my mind, and self-doubt started to set in. Was Chief a good idea? Why would anyone be interested? What if this fails?
I admitted to myself that I needed some help. So I decided to talk to my wife, friends and colleagues about my thoughts and ideas. I let them loose, I put them out there. This really helped to relieve the internal pressures I was putting on myself to fulfil my ambition. Talking and getting feedback and input from others gave me the confidence to take the next step and also helped to clear my thinking. The knock-on effect of this was the positive impact it had on my well-being and mental health.
For me and the team at Chief Clothing www.chiefgear.co.uk having the opportunity to express ourselves and put our (spare) energy into something we’re passionate about and inspired by, has been brilliant.
From time-to-time, we all need support and a helping hand to reach our goals, no matter how big or small they are.
So does being busy lead to better mental health and cognitive performance?
Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas discovered that sustained engagement in mentally challenging activities improves memory in older adults. Research found that busy people may have better-functioning brains in old age than those who are less busy.
To enable the survey scientists included 330 participants from the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study (DLBS) aged between 50 and 89. Those involved had to complete the questionnaire as well as a series of neuropsychological tests which measured their cognitive performance.
Denise C. Park, who was one of the authors stated all team members were shocked when they found how little research has been conducted on this subject because the modern lifestyle is characterised by busyness.
What can I add in conclusion?
The little research that has been carried out shows that as we get older those who are busy have better functioning brains than those are are less so. So try and find a good balance and be mindful of how busy you are and how often you do nothing at all. Keep active mentally and physically and strive for optimum mental and physical fitness. There is nothing wrong with chilling but if you are slumping on the sofa, eating rubbish and binging on Netflix every night then maybe you need to re-valuate your lifestyle.
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